A special court here has permitted “reclamation” of properties worth Rs 440 crore of escapee jeweler Nirav Modi, impounded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to the Punjab National Bank (PNB). Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are victimised of committing a Rs 14,000 crore scam by procuring credit facilities falsely from the PNB, a public sector bank.
The decree was passed by V C Barde, special judge for Prevention of Money Laundering Act, last week. The detailed instruction became accessible on Thursday. The PNB in July 2021 had lodged multiple pleas seeking release of the properties mortgaged with the bank against the credit facilities extended to Nirav Modi’s two companies, Firestar Diamond International Private Ltd (FDIPL) and Firestar International (FIL). The applications were filed by PNB as an individual applicant and also as lead bank of the PNB association and authorized representative of the UBI consortium.
The court permitted two pleas seeking the discharge of properties of FIL worth Rs 108.3 crore and those of FDIPL worth Rs 331.6 crore. “The claimants’ (banks) computable loss has been recognized by the DRT (Debt Recovery Tribunal) who has passed a verdict in their favor,” the court noted.
During its investigation, the ED attached various properties possessed by Nirav Modi through his family members and these companies. Several of the properties were impounded after he was declared an “escapee economic offender” in December 2019. The bank and lenders’ stake-holders had opposed the confiscation, as the properties had been mortgaged with them when Modi and Choksi published Letters of Undertaking (LOUs). The court has now also ordered the PNB to give an undertaking to return the properties or their value if directed in future.
Nirav Modi and Choksi along with some bank officials are arraigned for cheating the Punjab National Bank of Rs 14,000 crore by obtaining LoUs falsely. LoUs are issued as a guarantee for the claimant to seek loans from overseas Indian banks.Nirav Modi is now lodged in a UK jail and is fighting repatriation to India.